Laura Flanders: How About Gun Control for the Pentagon?
The good news is surely this. We’re finally taking aim at gun violence (as the headline writers say). The powerful gun lobby the National Rifle Association has taken some hits. Thanks to Lee Fang, we know all about their corporate backers, and NRA President Wayne LaPierre came in for no end of grief when he finally broke his post-Newtwon silence and suggested stationing more shooters in more schools. Arm schools to protect schools? Ridiculous.
Except that's exactly US foreign policy. The NRA works for its corporate partners no harder than the State Department works for theirs. US government-brokered arms sales tripled to a record high in 2011: $66.43 billion dollars, more than three-quarters of the global arms market, driven by major arms deals with Persian Gulf states. For all the talk of background checks stateside, when the US approved a $30 billion deal with the authoritarian state of Saudi Arabia, it wasn’t the background, only the size of the check that got much attention. (President Obama said the sale would be good for jobs and the State Department said that in such an insecure region, the arms deal would be good for sercurity.) And when was the last time we periodically recertified Israel?
The United States last year did its best to keep ammunition out of a new treaty on small arms, and the Land of the Free won’t even sign the international ban on land-mines. If the president really wants action on high-capacity killing, how about a deal: gun owners give up Bushmasters when the US agrees absolutely to ban cluster bombs?
It may be I’m getting ahead of myself. Perhaps we should aim a little lower. One step at a time. Set our sights on just one handgun a month. And how about just one shooting metaphor? At least that would be a start.